Category Archives: Doctor Who

Doctor Who S10e2: Smile

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The Doctor and Bill travel to their first destination together a far future off world Earth colony. Where they encounter robots which communicate to people via emoji symbols. On further investigation they find the colony devoid of any human life. The new travelling companions have to solve the mystery of the colony while at the same time smiling as if their lives depended on it.

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When a second episode of a television season airs it sometimes is not as strong as the season opener. I am pleased to say Smile is an exception to this statement. This episode is another strong performer. This episode is based on a strong premise which allows for a good depth for a second episode. Again like last weeks episode this one continues the vein of getting the series back to it’s core basics and not over complicating things which is a trap Doctor Who can fall into from time to time.

This episode marks the second time Frank Cottrell-Boyce has written for the series (the last time being In The Forest of The Night) this episode was clearly the better of the two entries.

Both Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie give strong performances in this episode (Matt Lucas only briefly features at the start of it) as we continue to see the relationship between The Doctor and Bill grow as they continue to face new situations.

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My only real issue with this episode is the use of emoji’s in it. I understand the show would need to stay relevant to the modern times however I don’t feel that emoji is my preferred method of this. There are other things in modern society that the series could use to relate to younger audiences. However perhaps I am simply getting too old and miss the point of some of these things.

All in all another strong episode the series is going very well so far. We shall see if it carries on for a while yet

Episode Rating 4/5

Season Rating 8/10

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Doctor Who S10e1: The Pilot

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With the exception of the Christmas special last year Doctor Who has been absent from our screens for a whole year. The wait is now over as Season 10 of the revived series has hit our screens.

The Pilot continues the partnership from the Christmas Special with The 12 Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) now posing as a university professor and his assistant. A worker from the university canteen Bill Pots (Pearl Mackie) is called to The Doctor’s office when it is noticed she is attending all his lectures.

Meanwhile Bill meets a student named Heather (Stephanie Hyam) who she starts to become interested in. She however has a mystery around her and The Doctor, Nardole & Bill must solve it. After which The Doctor agrees to have Bill travel with him.

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The Pilot is a strong start to the new season. It introduces Bill in a nice and slightly different way to how companions have been introduced in the past. I suspect Stephen Moffat enjoys exploring the different ways to bring a new companion into the fold.

Pearl Mackie has a strong introduction to the show with an excellent performance. I think she will make a great addition to the cast for this season.

As we have come to expect there are many easter eggs in this episode perhaps there were a few more than usual. If you did not catch them all perhaps a second watch will show you more of them

The Pilot brings Doctor Who back onto our screens in a nice way which allows new viewers a chance to enter the universe in a nice an easy manner. It gives us a strong start to the season it remains to be seen how long that can be maintained in what we already know to be the last season with Peter Capaldi as The Doctor.

Episode Rating: 4/5

Season Rating 4/5

 

Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio

In 1992 The Doctor encounters an 8 year old boy named Grant (Logan Hoffman) while installing a device on a roof to help repair damaged that was caused when he last visited New York City. During this encounter The Doctor gives Grant a wish granting gemstone to hold which is used to power the device. Grant mistaking the stone as a cure to his cold swallows the stone. The stone gives Grant his wish of having super hero powers.

Returning to New York 24 years later The Doctor investigates the research company Harmony Shoals while doing so he encounters Lucy Fletcher (Charity Wakefield) who is an investigative journalist also looking into the company. Grant ( Justin Chatwin) is now serving as Lucy’s nanny and helping to look after her baby girl while leading a double life as the super hero known as The Ghost.

Together they all try to unravel the mystery of Harmony Shoals and what they are truly doing

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Doctor Who Christmas specials I tend to find can be a bit of a hit and miss thing. For example last year’s entry The Husbands of River Song I thought was a great special (review for that can be found here https://downundergeek.wordpress.com/2015/12/28/doctor-who-the-husbands-of-river-song/) While on other occasions they can be not as strong. This entry to the list of Christmas specials fall about in the middle of the road.

The acting on the whole was reasonably solid throughout the episode with Justin Chatwin, Charity Wakefield putting in good supporting roles. Peter Capaldi had some great moments and some good comedy to the episode. The main setback for the cast was Nardole (Matt Lucas), while his performance was good I felt the character did not fit in with the story that well and did not really contribute much to it.

The main down point for me is it felt very similar to other things Moffat had done before and was not really breaking into any new territory . While it was not a bad episode it does show the tiredness of his time as show runner. Hopefully the coming change for series 11 will bring a breath of fresh air into the show.

Having said that though I did enjoy how this special tied nicely into the previous one referencing the 24 years spent with River Song which was a nice way to tie up that story and also the fact we have not had any Doctor Who in 2016.

While not the strongest Christmas special it is not the worst. I would say it sits somewhere in the middle.

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Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song

Well another year almost gone and another season of Doctor Who complete. Once again we find ourselves at that special part of the year where we have the Christmas Special. This year sees the return of River Song in The Husbands of River Song.

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The episode begins with a messenger at the door of the TARDIS looking for “The Surgeon”, the messenger having being sent by the one and only River Song who is apparently married to King Hydroflax. However as is quite often the case with River things are not always as they appear especially when she appears not to recognise The Doctor…

Firstly allow me to begin by saying that this is a nice lighter episode with some nice comedy scenes in it. I feel this was much needed because quite a few parts of series 9 (especially the end three episodes) were quite dark. So a nice light hearted fun romp was a much needed change.

Aside from the snow and a few other visual queues there was very little Christmas in this Christmas special. While this is not the first time this has happened I feel a Christmas special should have a certain level of Christmas in it and this one sadly did not have enough.

In terms of the episode I felt the pace was a bit slow to begin with but it picked up as the episode went along. Towards the end it slowed down nicely at the right point for the ending.

River not recognising The Doctor was probably a result of the fact he is now in his 13th regeneration and on a new set of lives. This goes beyond her knowledge of him as she has always stated that she knows all of his faces.

All being said though I felt this was a reasonably solid episode. The pacing could have been better but it’s not as bad as episodes have been in the past. Now we wait until season 10.

Four Favourite Christmas clips from Youtube

As today is Christmas day I thought I would share by four favourite Christmas related videos that I have seen on YouTube over the years.

These are in no particular order…

  1. Jenson Button

As a long time Formula one Fan I enjoy this one quite a lot some of the reactions are awesome plus Jenson is an awesome guy.

2) Minions!!!

Who does not love Minions? Most of you do know I love minions and even took a Build-A-Bear Kevin to the minions movie.

3) Clarke & Dawe

Clarke & Dawe are an Australian comedy duo. This video is from 2010 and they reference some events of that year.. Funny that in 2015 Australia got beat in the Ashes by England like in 2010 and FIFA are in the news still too.

4) Chistmas with Doctor Who

Done by the awesome guys at Dead Ringers

Doctor Who: The Magician’s Apprentice review

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The opening episode to the ninth season of the revived Doctor Who series The Magician’s Apprentice is written by series head writer and executive produces Stephen Moffat.

Basic Plot

In this episode we see The Doctor, Clara & Missy facing off against The Doctor’s oldest nemesis and dealing with the consequences of a decision The Doctor made a long time ago on a very old battlefield.

Review

As far as opening episodes for a season of Doctor Who go this is one of the strongest entry since the series 6 opening The Impossible Astronaut. Having The Doctor primarily absent from the episode for the first half of it allowed a nice establishment of suspense as the other characters in the episode are looking for him and it gives the viewer the sense of why is everyone looking for him.

The reveal of the identity of the boy on the battlefield was an excellent twist which was not only a good attention grabber but was also a complete surprise. It was also good to supporting actors coming back to reprise the roles they had played before in the series.

I did not feel a connection to everything that happened in the episode however and felt that while some elements were in there for plot they did not have any dramatic influence on the episode or myself.

I found the direction of this episode to be of a good high quality. As a point of reference the director Hettie MacDonald also directed Blink from Series 3. The Magician’s Apprentice utilised some excellent camera angles. With both long wide shots and very close shots used for dramatic purposes.

Clara in this episode seemed much more at home with The Doctor and his world. While I am more than happy to leave the last season and the Danny Pink stuff behind I feel it is slightly wrong to use a Star Trek style reset button on Clara and make it almost like she has completely forgotten about loosing her boy friend.

While I am quite excited by this episode and the high it left me on after watching it. I do approach the second part with some trepidation as sometime the second part to these two part episodes can be a bit of let down. Let’s hope I am wrong however only time will tell…

My Favourite New Who Episodes Pt2

Last time we began to take a look at my 10 Favourite episodes from the new series of Doctor Who.

For a recap of that post please go here…

https://downundergeek.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/my-10-favourite-new-who-episodes-pt1/

Remember for this list I have only considered stand along episodes not stories that are intended to be part of a multi episode story (for example The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances *series 1* or The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang *series 5*). I have also not included the Christmas specials or the 50th Anniversary special as they will be featured in a later post.

Here we have my 5 favourite new who episodes…

5: The Unicorn and the wasp (Series 4)

The Doctor & Donna travel to 1920’s England where they meet a famous crime author who they team up with to solve a mystery with a unique twist

An excellently done episode with Fenella Woolgar cast in the role of Agatha Christie. This mystery who done it is very well done. The level of Christie story references is something special

4: Blink (Series 3)

With The Doctor and Martha stuck in the past they must use messages to communicate with and help two escape from a new villain who are perhaps the most deadly.

This Doctor & companion light episode is an excellent piece of writing and my favourite episode written by Stephen Moffat.  With the introduction of the weeping angels it can be clearly said the original is the best. Sally Sparrow (Carey Mulligan) would have made an excellent companion for The Doctor

3: Dalek (Series 1)

In the year 2012 The Doctor & Rose arrive in Utah where they find a collector who has something deadly in his collection.

Our first encounter of a Dalek in the new series comes 6 episodes in. The time war which has been briefly mentioned comes to the front. We see a new side of The Doctor the war survivor full of rage for what he was forced to do in the war. A masterful performance by Christopher Eccleston.

2: The Fires of Pompeii (Series 4)

Arriving in Roman times The Doctor & Donna believe they are in Rome until they discover they are in fact at the site of a major historical event one day before it happens.

This example is a wonderful example the finer details of time travel, how some events are able to be changed and some have to happen. Donna’s appeal to The Doctor again serves to remind us he needs someone traveling with him to be that humanity in times like this. A great episode

1: The Doctor’s Wife (Series 6)

In this Neil Gaiman written episode the essence of the TARDIS is removed and placed in a body which gives The Doctor an interesting opportunity to interact with his time machine.

This episode is fantastic giving an interesting insight into the interaction between The Doctor & The TARDIS. Suranne Jones being cast as Idris (The TARDIS) was an excellent casting choice. The scenes between Matt & Suranne was wonderful with some excellent dialog.

Gaiman’s writing was wonderful and the episode won two prestigious awards. the 2011 Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation & the 2012 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

Well there we have it my top 5 New Series Doctor Who episodes. What are your thoughts on the list. Leave a comment and let me know